The Downs School & Sixth Form is an inclusive school. We pride ourselves on creating an environment in which students with special educational needs or disabilities feel fully integrated into the school community, and are challenged to achieve success, while being provided with support both in the classroom and from a range of additional provisions. 

The Special Educational Needs department has responsibility for all aspects of the inclusion agenda. This includes providing support for students with a range of learning and social difficulties as well as appropriate challenge to the most able. Students are targeted for support through a variety of ways including information from feeder schools as well as a vigorous programme of assessments. One of the most important sources of information is that received from parents. Indeed, we rely upon close communication with parents in order to develop an effective partnership. The aim of the department is to enable all students to succeed and achieve to the very best of their abilities.

The SENDCO leads the provision for students with special educational needs or disabilities, working closely with the pastoral team to ensure all students are provided with the support and guidance they need in and out of the classroom to achieve their full potential. The SENDCO leads a team of dedicated and professional teaching assistants, who help teachers provide the classroom support that helps individual students achieve success. 


SENCO: Ms L Clark



I have worked at The Downs School for over twenty years joining the school in September 2003. Trained as a PE teacher, I became Assistant Head of Year and then Primary Sports Co-ordinator. In 2015 I moved into the Special Needs Faculty teaching Literacy. I completed my Level 5 Literacy and Numeracy Teaching qualification. In 2017 I became SENCo and completed the NASENCo with Reading University. I also completed my Level 7 qualification in assessing learners needs. Outside of school I am a mum of two, who enjoys playing games, spending time with my family and craft activities.



Assistant SENCo: Mrs G Holbrook

I started at The Downs School in 2009 and have been lucky enough to experience a variety of roles in my time here. I arrived as a newly qualified PE teacher and shortly after took on the role of Assistant Head of Year. I have also been a Head of Year for 4 years, Head of Key Stage Three and most recently Transition Leader. I started my new role as Assistant SENCo in September 2022 and became SENCo at Beedon Primary in April 2023.

Outside of school I am a busy mum of two, who enjoys playing badminton and netball.



SEND Administrator: Mrs F Martin

I joined The Downs School associate staff team in 2017 as a Receptionist and more recently, in September 2021, as the Special Educational Needs Administrator.

I have a degree in information and library studies and worked for several years in scientific and business libraries. I have experience as a primary school teaching assistant and in early years as a nursery assistant.


Mrs A Kew

I started working at the Downs School in January 2008 as a Teaching assistant. I moved to the Examinations team covering students with access arrangements and running examinations. I now work closely with the SENCo implementing all administrative paperwork to ensure that students have the support they need.


Miss A Skinner

I joined the school The Downs School in 2019 as a Teaching Assistant. In September 2023 I took on a new role in Learning Support as the Learning Mentor. I work in Learning Support Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. On a Tuesday I work as a Teaching Assistant. I support at break and lunchtimes. In these times I have organised Christmas crafting and various games including bingo.


Mrs N Tombs

I joined The Downs School in November 2021 after working with younger children within West Berkshire for 12 years. I started initially as a Teaching Assistant helping to support students within our SEN Department during their lessons. 

In September 2023 I took on a new role alongside being a Teaching Assistant as a Learning Support Mentor, working more closely with our SEN students and supporting our vulnerable students. I also help ensure our break and lunchtime provision in Learning Support is a calm environment for our students to attend. 



Mrs M Cox

I have been at The Downs School since 2011.  I started as a Teaching Assistant but have been a Literacy teacher since 2017. Originally from New Zealand, I have a Bachelor of Arts degree with Honours in History from Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand. I worked as an historical researcher for two years for a tribal organisation prior to coming to the United Kingdom.  I use my research skills to inform my teaching practice and frequently apply new research to my literacy lessons. In 2017 I completed the Level 5 Qualification for teaching learners with dyslexia, specific learning differences.  I am avid reader of fiction and non-fiction and enjoy exploring historical Britain. 



Mrs R Woods

I joined The Downs School in 2019 and I have trained here as a Literacy Teacher through completing the Level 5 Qualification for teaching learners with dyslexia, specific learning differences and barriers to literacy. I was previously a science teacher for 22 years in schools in Oxfordshire and West Berkshire and had a number of roles which included KS3 Co-ordinator, Head of Biology, Head of Health and Social Care and Second in Science.


Mrs Brown

I have worked in education for the past 10 years. I spent 2 years at a large comprehensive in Newbury and have been at The Downs for the past 8 years.

I primarily work in the Performing Arts faculty, as I hold a degree in Theatre Studies.

Prior to working in education I was a client account manager for a multinational ticketing agency.

Outside of school I enjoy swimming, walking and performing in plays and musicals with local theatre companies.




Miss Burton

I joined The Downs School in December 2022 as a Teaching Assistant, and I can be found in mainly either P.E. or English. I have been a TA for around 4 years in total and absolutely love it. My hobbies outside of school include travelling, music, gym, American Football and I adore being outdoors. I lived in Wales for three years whilst completing my degree and also became a keen fan of Rugby too!



Mrs Llewellyn

I have worked as a TA at The Downs School since 2008.  I now specialise in Maths, a subject I love. I run the Sparx catch up sessions every morning.  I am also part of the lunchtime supervisor team, a nice way to get to know other students.

My interests are spending time with my family. Cooking. Going on holiday.  Spending time outdoors – walking, cycling and gardening.


Mrs Ross

I have worked at The Downs School for 12 years. I specialise in the Design and Technology department, this includes Food Technology, Textiles and Resistant Materials. I support students from year 7 - 11. I also work lunchtime with Learning Support students where we play games and socialise safely.


In my spare time I enjoy horse riding, cooking, gardening, and spending time with my family.



Mrs Troskie


I am relatively new to the Downs School as only started in September 2023. 

So far, I'm really enjoying my role as Teaching Assistant within the SEN team and it's great working with all the fantastic students and staff.

I am part of the Technology faculty, so you may find me in a textiles lesson or upstairs in the Food Tech room! 

I live with my husband and two children, who keep me very busy! I'm animal and rugby mad, so if I'm not busy walking our three dogs, then I'm usually on the side of a rugby pitch, either watching my son or daughter play for their clubs.



Mrs Edwards

I joined The Downs in April 2020, I work in the Maths faculty. Prior to working at The Downs I worked for a Software company starting out as a Training consultant, travelling globally to deliver IT training courses to the recruitment and careers industries, after numerous different roles I ended up as a Software & Business Consultant, Consulting on best practice and business improvement.

I have 2 daughters, after moving to West Berks, I realised how much my daughter was struggling at school so I decided upon a change of career and wanted to help children that were struggling reach their full potential. 


For more details on West Berkshire's local offer, please click here

For more details from the autism team click West Berkshire Autism Team | West Berkshire Directory

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Page Downloads Date  
SEN Policy Information Report TDS 13th Sep 2023 Download
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